July 30, 2011

"Man’s most dangerous myth"

An excerpt from Steve Russell’s new book, Sequoyah Rising:The whole idea of “race” is, in Columbia professor Partha Chatterjee’s phrase describing nationalism, “a derivative discourse.” It is not only derived from European colonial discourse, but it has done and continues to do harm to Indian nations on a scale similar to that of smallpox and measles. Read Chatterjee’s words below (from her book, Nationalist Thought and the Colonial World) and substitute “race” for “nationalism”:

Nationalism as an ideology is irrational, narrow, hateful and destructive. It is not an authentic product of any of the non-European civilizations which, in each particular case, it claims as its classical heritage. It is wholly a European export to the rest of the world. It is also one of Europe’s most pernicious exports.

Can “race” properly be considered, like nationalism, an ideology? According to the American Anthropological Association statement on race in 1998:

[Physical] variations in the human species have no meaning except the social ones that humans put on them. Today scholars in many fields argue that “race” as it is understood in the United States of America was a social mechanism invented during the 18th century to refer to those populations brought together in colonial America: the English and other European settlers, the conquered Indian peoples, and those peoples of Africa brought in to provide slave labor.… As they were constructing U.S. society, leaders among European-Americans fabricated the cultural/behavioral characteristics associated with each “race,” linking superior traits with Europeans and negative and inferior ones to blacks and Indians.… Ultimately, “race” as an ideology about human differences was subsequently spread to other areas of the world. It became a strategy for dividing, ranking, and controlling colonized people used by colonial powers everywhere.

Anthropologist Ashley Montagu’s famous formulation of race as “man’s most dangerous myth” dates from 1942, when Adolf Hitler was engaged in a spectacular attempt to govern a modern nation by that myth. Before World War II, Hitler expressed admiration for the U.S.’s handling of race in Mein Kampf.
Proving Hitler's regard for the US "final solution" is this quote:The settlement of the North American continent is just as little the consequence of any claim of right in any democratic or international sense; it was the consequence of a consciousness of right which was rooted solely in the conviction of the superiority and therefore of the right of the white race.Adolf Hitler, Speech to the Industrie-Klub of Düsseldorf, January 27, 1932Comment:  We hear echoes of Hitler constantly in online debates. "Western civilization was superior, the strong conquers the weak, it's inevitable, get over it." The people who say things like this are usually moderates or conservatives, not liberals. From now on, let's say these people agree with Hitler. "Might makes right" is the conservative/Nazi mantra.

Seriously, if you rewrote the Hitler quote in plain English, I wonder what percentage of conservatives would agree with it. A large majority, surely. It's part of their dogma that God made Americans exceptional, beyond the rules, free to do whatever they want. Including conquering and killing people.

For more on the subject, see Adolf Hitler:  A True American.

Below:  A typical "might makes right" conservative.


Anonymous said...

Well, Hitler had contempt for America, which he said was "half Judaized and half niggerized". Given how Hitler felt about Jews, it's hard to tell which he thought was worse. However, he had no plans to invade America for now. Maybe in a half-century. He loved South Africa, however; he and Ronald Reagan had that in common. In fact, Hitler planned to split Africa between (from north to south) Italy, Germany, and South Africa.

I should point out that Hitler's "second book" is a forgery.

Anonymous said...


Seriously, the only commentary you added was 'Conservatives would agree with Hitler.'

It's official, Newspaper Rock has run it's course. The blog writer has Godwin'd. There can be no further discussion here.

Shadow Wolf said...

And the motto for the Liberals, which makes up a significant multicultural base of various ethnic individuals should read as:

"If it's White, it's not right."

As for Hitler, he was one of the most hypocritical figures of the last century. He talks about the "White race", yet goes on to wage wars against other White nations as well as killing and murdering untold numbers of White people(not including Jews). Sure Hitler was a ingenious maniac who merely used the German people to achienve
delusions of grandeur. He hated Germans as much as he hated the Slavs.

Evidently, the "race" idealogue is now imbedded into everyday living. From politics and such. You see it in movies, hear about it in music. And read about it in the news. Heck, even our laws are being created on the concept of "race"(see S.B.1070 in Arizona).

Anonymous said...

Well, meat gave Hitler indigestion, therefore vegetarians are evil.

Godwin just says the PROBABILITY of a Nazi comparison increases as the conversation goes on.

Anonymous said...

You are correct. It is a corollary that states the conversation has run it's course once someone Godwins.

dmarks said...

You can't godwin them all....

Anonymous said...

Plus, it's obviously fair to call someone a Nazi if they talk about exterminating races. Godwin only works if it's something like "Michael Dukakis is a Nazi.", which inspired Godwin to make the meme in the first place.

Here's a Dukakis/Nazi comparison which is fair: The tank ad was no Triumph of the Will.

Rob said...


Godwin's law itself can be abused as a distraction, diversion or even as censorship, fallaciously miscasting an opponent's argument as hyperbole when the comparisons made by the argument are actually appropriate. Similar criticisms of the "law" (or "at least the distorted version which purports to prohibit all comparisons to German crimes") have been made by Glenn Greenwald.

Rob said...

Has anyone stated the corollary to Godwin's Law? Namely, that whenever you mention Hitler or Nazis in any context, someone will invoke Godwin's Law without thinking about the underlying argument? If not, let me be the first.

Now that you've demonstrated an inability to address the point, maybe you'd like to try again:

If you rewrote the Hitler quote in plain English, I wonder what percentage of conservatives would agree with it. A large majority, surely.

Do you agree or disagree? Pick one option, then support your position with facts and evidence. But don't waste our time if you can't or won't answer.

If you're too dense to imagine the rewritten quote, I could rewrite it for you. Then the question would be free of a Hitler reference but just as legitimate. Do you need my help, or can you can think beyond a grade-school level for yourself?